My Friend

YoAnn and YudiJo-Ann Mapson hates the word “mentor.” Why, I’m not sure. It’s an honorable calling. But for now, I’ll just call her my dear friend, although I’m convinced that without her guidance and support, my first book would never have seen the light of day.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Ina dark woodMy only real criteria for an enjoyable read is that a book must take me somewhere interesting—another country, another reality, another heart—and hold me there. Possibly even against my will.
Such was the case when I read In a Dark Wood Wandering, by Hella S. Haasse, which arrived unannounced in my mailbox one day, sent by a friend with no note or explanation. The story is set during the Hundred Years War, the main character is Charles, Duke of Orleans, and the story is history, so there are no real surprises. All the uncharted territory lies within the characters and the Dark Woods of life through which they stumble. And the story of how it came to be translated into English is hardly less compelling.

Finally…

Blog Baker's Blues cover (682x1024)

Baker’s Blues is coming out this summer!

I’m so ready to get this one out the door. It’s been percolating since…well, since the twentieth century, when I was writing Bread Alone. Hard to believe it’s been that long, and harder still to think that I actually had in my head the entire arc of this story.

The Horse

photo by Simon Howden

photo by Simon Howden

Harry’s Roadhouse out on the Old Las Vegas Highway is a local hangout.  The customers are an intriguing mix of artsy types, musicians, actors, cowpersons, politicos, and normal people.

Adventures in Millinery

the girls2I’ve always loved hats.  I wasn’t a particularly feminine girl-child, but I played with dolls, and I made hats for them from handkerchiefs and buttons, ribbons and safety pins.  I had my own hats, too…bunny fur and dark green velvet in winter, straw Easter bonnets with fake flowers every spring.  That is, up until I hit seventh grade, when wearing a hat suddenly became uncool.  At that time the only acceptable head gear among my peer group was scarves.  Why we wanted to wear what my Polish grandmother would have called babushkas remains a mystery to me, but like pre-teens everywhere, we were driven by the need to look exactly alike.

Bread Boot Camp, Part Two

The Classroom

The Classroom

Besides running the wood fired oven workshops, Pat runs Hains House as an AirB&B.  In case you haven’t been traveling much lately, this is a system like those home stays and farm stays that are so deservedly popular in other countries.  Three bedrooms and a bath upstairs, one bed and bath downstairs.  So in the four nights I spent in the Log Cabin room under the eaves, Vasu had another of the upstairs bedrooms and the downstairs room was occupied Friday night by Frank and Elaine from Victoria, B.C. and Saturday night by Emily and David from Northern Ireland.  And it must be said that in the case of Hains House, “bed & breakfast” doesn’t really cover the experience.

A Weekend Warrior at Bread Boot Camp (Part One)

The first of two posts about my wood fired baking workshop in Olympia, WA…

Batards and BoulesI’ve learned over the course of many years and many trips that travel is like dominoes.  If a day starts off ugly things generally get worse.  Thursday (Sept. 19th) is a travel day that begins with a thunderstorm at 1:15 AM.  After checking the time, making sure the roof isn’t leaking and getting a drink of water, I start mentally calculating how many hours I have left to sleep, which of course means zero.  We leave the house at 4 AM (don’t ask.)

Cutting It Short

dolores for blogA few weeks ago I cut my hair.

No, that’s not exactly right.  I didn’t cut it.  I had Dolores cut it, because she is my hair person.  I never know what to call her.  Stylist?  Dresser?  Cutter?  I usually just call her Dolores.  She’s been cutting my hair for…four years?  Maybe more than that.

There’s a Lesson Here

Canyon Road Tea House in a different season

Canyon Road Tea House in a different season

“Did you know Cindy Bellinger?” my husband asks.

We’re sitting at a table at Dulce having coffee and reading the paper, our Friday morning routine.  I’m reading Pasatiempo and I look up, surprised.

“Yes, we met her at Larry’s signing.  Why?”